I chose to write, rather than talk for a living. And while those who read bits and pieces of my work may question the wisdom of my choice, I suspect they would understand, if they had the opportunity (or the misadventure) to hear me speak in public, that I did pick the lesser evil.
This week is National Newspaper Week. I don't know who signed the papers that made this week, more than any other, a week for newspapers. It's also Fire Prevention Week and World Space Week and a bunch of other weeks.
But I do know a few things about newspapers - especially community newspapers, which are a very different group of creatures from the national and regional and international newspapers that we generally call "the dailies" (although there are daily community newspapers, too - just to ensure a bit of confusion as I attempt to communicate a concept).
One of the great journalists - certainly one of the most recognized of all time - Mark Twain had the misfortune - or perhaps the fortune, actually - to read his own obituary, which had been accidentally published in his local newspaper. The experience resulted in one of his most often quoted comments: "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
You know, I've been reading - and hearing and seeing - obituaries detailing the demise of the newspaper industry for decades.
And I'm here to tell you - as the editor of two community newspapers - that our death is being greatly exaggerated.
I think there are a lot of factors leading to the misconceptions of our imminent demise.
We hear about a number of big newspapers "increasing their web presence" - or shifting completely to the internet in "an effort to survive." Yadda yadda yadda.
There is no need for newspapers anymore. Is there?
Kids have stopped reading newspapers... well... actually, kids never did read the newspapers (except a handful of misfits like me). The internet and social media put everything at your fingertips. You can get all the news you want on the internet. You can get all the information you want on the internet.
Nobody is reading newspapers anymore. Or so we're told.
But it comes back to that difference between the "dailies" and your local community news source. The "big guys" who all compete with each other for (and with) the same stories that you can find everywhere are only hurting because they are competing in an arena where everybody is providing a good and essential - but the same - service.
The reality is that readership continues to grow for most of us "little guys" who provide you with news of the community - information that you can find here, in a nice, neat package, but would have to go hunting all over the internet to find on your own - if, indeed, it's even there to find (outside of your favourite community paper's website, that is).
There are billions and billions of pages of information on the internet. There is so much information out there, that you can't possibly know what to do with it all.
Indeed, that's why I'm not out hunting for a new career just yet.
We bring you Langley, right to your doorstep. We are really not designed to do a lot more than that... but nobody else can do that as well as we can.
True, we have been adapting to the new technologies that are available, to help us do our jobs as best we can.
But that's what we've always done. It's how newspapers came into being in the first place.
And we'll be here for a while, yet.
@ Copyright 2013